Monday, May 14, 2007

Marine Midrashic Mnemonic

Today I am going to teach you some Geology.

Geology is my favorite science. I should have minored in it in college, but unfortunately decided not to. I study geology because it helps me appreciate and understand the workings of God's world.

This is what we call it when sea level falls, relative to the land, exposing former sea-bottom to the air. If you were to stand at one point on the beach and watch regression take place (you may be waiting around for a few million years in some cases), you would see the water retreat away from you, as the land seems to spread into where the water was.

This is the opposite of regression. In transgression, the land retreats relative to the water, and the sea level rises relative to the land. This is what we're afraid of when we talk about rising sea levels and global warming.

When I was studying regression and transgression in Geology class, I could never remember which is which — until I recalled a midrash I had read references to that described the Ocean revolting during the process of Creation. On the third day, God commanded the Lower Waters to condense down, revealing the continents. However, the Waters didn't want to listen, and attempted to rise up and drown the Dry Land. In response, God set a boundary of sand around the yabasha — and when the waters try to rise up and attack the dry land, they crash against the sandy seashores and lose their strength.

So, according to that midrash, the sea rising up over the land is a transgression of the Divine limit. Instant mnemonic.

If anyone has any actual source listings for that midrash I would appreciate it greatly. I'm running out to minyan now.


Blogger Ezer K'negdo said...

Wow that is cool - I can't help you with the midrash, but I'll look for your updates with the listing when you find it. Being a fine arts major, science was not so much my thing, but I remember that stuff from Geology (I was in a low-level class they called "Rocks for Jocks" or in my case, "Geology for Graphic Designers who think sedimentary rocks are what are collected after the solids from ink settle in the bottom of your inkwell" :-))

5/15/2007 8:19 AM  
Blogger Heccy said...

Geology?! awww man it cant hold a candle to biology, especially microbiology. Quite simply, bacteria are the coolest things in the universe. Sadly not many people study the cool parts because theres no funding.mumblestupidrepublicansmumble.

5/16/2007 2:09 AM  

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